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[233] communication with each other, and that, too, by bridges strong enough to stand a flood and long enough to stretch across the whole bottom-land of the river. These necessary works were delayed, and the labors and exposures of the men greatly increased, by the incessant rains. General McClellan's communications to the authorities at Washington show how he was tried and baffled by the obstinately bad weather. On the 4th of June he telegraphs to the President, “Terrible rain-storm during the night and morning; not yet cleared off. Chickahominy flooded, bridges in bad condition;” and on the next day he says to the Secretary of War, “Rained most of the night; has now ceased, but it is not clear. The river still very high and troublesome.” On the 7th he tells the Secretary,--
The whole face of the country is a perfect bog, entirely impassable for artillery, or even cavalry, except directly in the narrow roads, which renders any general movement, either of this or the rebel army, utterly out of the question until we have more favorable weather.

Three days after, in another despatch to the Secretary, he says,--

I am completely checked by the weather. The roads and fields are literally impassable for artillery,--almost so for infantry. The Chickahominy is in a dreadful state: we have another rain-storm on our hands.

I shall attack as soon as the weather and ground will permit; but there will be a delay, the extent of which no one can foresee, for the season is altogether abnormal.

The heat of the weather, the poisonous miasma

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